I Table of Contents Introduction…………………………..3 The History of Gift Wrapping……..……4 Wrapping Tips from the Pros………...…5 Bonus Tips…………………………18 Gift-Wrapping Emporium....………19 The Card: Inside or Out……………21 Gift-Wrapping How-To Photos and Videos…24 Wrapped Gifts That Give Back…….28 Photo by Gabriela Delworth Introduction We all love the excitement of opening a beautifully wrapped present! Some of us unwrap our gifts slowly, taking care not to damage the beautiful paper so we can use it again. Others tear into their gifts like a monkey on a cupcake. Either way, the gift-wrapping has done its job. It’s job? Absolutely! My colleague Karen Sullen, our own gift- wrap guru, says gift-wrapping builds anticipation and conceals a surprise. After it’s opened, the gift has to stand on its own merit. Maybe you’ll love it. Maybe, uh, not so much. If you’re not thrilled with the gift, you can’t blame the wrapping. There are a few options for wrapping gifts: 1) Most retail stores have a gift-wrapping department, which typically charges a small fee unless the gift you purchased there is more than a certain amount. 2) Ask someone you know has a knack for wrapping gifts to do it. 3) Wrap it yourself. This e-guide is dedicated to those of you who wrap gifts yourself and those who want to learn. Once you’ve discovered the creativity, enjoyment and satisfaction that accompany wrapping gifts for family and friends, you’ll never turn to a retail store gift-wrap department again. In a way, it’s ―value added,‖ a personal touch that lets the recipients know how much they mean to you. You can tap into your imagination and know that, no matter how it turns out, your audience will love it. The History of Gift Wrapping Holiday gift-giving is an ancient practice. The Romans would exchange gifts during festivals like Saturnalia, the winter solstice and the Roman New Year. The gifts of the Three Wise Men inspired the tradition of gift-giving for Christmas, which was discouraged by the Church, but by the Middle Ages, it had become a holiday tradition. The first gift wrap was tissue paper or sturdy brown paper. In the 1800’s, people began to get creative with gifts presented in decorated cornucopias or paper baskets. It wasn’t until the very late 19th century, when the technology for mass- producing a decorated, foldable paper was developed, printing presses were capable of printing with colored ink, and a rotary system was created for rolling the printed paper onto cardboard rolls and cutting it into smaller sheets that our concept of wrapping paper was introduced. By the turn of the century, gift wrapping was an American mainstay. Eli Hyman and Morris Silverman established Hy-Sill Manufacturing Inc., the first American gift wrap company, in 1903. Gift-wrapping giant Hallmark entered the market in 1917, quite by accident. Already well-known for their greeting cards, the Hall brothers had been offering red, green and white tissue paper at their store in Kansas City, MO, and they sold out just before Christmas. The entrepreneurial owner, Rollie Hall, had sheets of decorative envelope liners shipped to the store from a manufacturing plant. Placed on top of a showcase and sold for 10 cents each, the decorative paper flew out of the store. He sold the sheets at three for twenty-five cents the next year and, again, they quickly disappeared. The brothers began producing their own Christmas wrapping paper, and the rest, as they say, is history. More gift wrap trivia—scotch tape wasn’t invented until 1930, and it wasn’t until 1932 that rolls of adhesive tape were sold in dispensers with cutter blades. So what held the wrap together before these developments? String and sealing wax! A few gift-wrapping supplies like small gift tags and sticky decorative ribbon came along in the 20’s and 30’s. Of course, the look of wrapping paper has changed over the decades, too, from the original, ornate Victorian designs to stylized Art Deco in the 30’s and 40’s, to wrapping paper the plethora of designs that often make it hard to choose. The 80’s saw the introduction of decorative plastic and paper gift bags, stick-on bows and cascade ribbons. And now, we’ll take a look at how far the art of wrapping gifts has evolved, with lots of helpful tips from gift-wrap experts from across the country. Our thanks to Mac Carey and MyMerryChristmas.com for this interesting info! Wrapping Tips from the Pros With a world of gift-wrapping ideas out there, we thought we’d bring you not just one expert, but a bevy of experts from across the country to share their gift for gift-wrapping with you. Let’s start by meeting our eight esteemed experts: Deb Condo, Gift Basket Junction Deb Condo is the owner of Gift Basket Junction and Gift Basket Gourmet Express in Golden, Colorado. Her basket designs have won numerous awards nationally, and they have been featured in many magazines over the years. Gift Basket Junction was named among the nation’s Top 100 Gift Basket Companies in 2007; and recently Gift Basket Junction was named to the KMGH-TV A-List as one of the Top 5 Gift Shops in the Denver metro area. Cynthia McKay Colorodo, Le Gourmet Gift Basket Cynthia McKay began Le Gourmet Gift Basket, Inc. as a small home-based business in Denver, Colorado in 1992. Since then, Le Gourmet Gift Basket, Inc. has expanded under McKay's direction across several states. She has built a partnership of professional gift basket companies throughout the United States and Canada. With more than 400 participating companies, Le Gourmet is able hand-deliver gifts to most areas. Dana Schultz, Gifts.com Dana Schultz is Trend Editor and PR Manager at Gifts.com. She has worked in buying and trend forecasting for almost 10 years. She is an expert on matching the right gift to the right recipient. Dana also loves to help make every occasion unique with handy tips and special touches. Adventure travel, cooking and magazines keep her busy when she’s off the clock. Liz Mrofka, Fobbie Liz is a graphic designer and the inventor of the Fobbie—Gift Wrapping in a Cinch! The Fobbie® name comes from the word fob, defined ―an ornament that hangs at the end of a ribbon.‖ which describes it perfectly. It was easy to turn it into the Fobbie®, which gives it its own playful name and identity. Liz is an avid Scrabble player, reader, hiker, graphic designer, who loves to brainstorm ideas. Laura Keating, All Wrapped Up 4 U Laura is a professional gift wrapper in the Baltimore area. Her specialty is making gift wrapping unique to the recipient as well as the gift giver. She meets with clients individually and takes the time to learn about both the gift giver and recipient. From there she creates a custom wrap. Laura does acknowledge that Christmas time is mostly general wraps, but if the order comes in early enough, she will create a custom wrap which might include the use of colored lights, or even a gift top with a whole nativity scene set up on it. The bottom line is Laura loves to let the creative juices flow! Mira Emmerling, Rockhem & Chicstone Mira is a luxury enthusiast, style connoisseur, avid traveler and connector. Mira has been on the hunt and ravaging the world for the finest since she was young, and she is the founder of Rockhem & Chicstone, a company that offers highly specialized services and is known as an exclusive style and pleasure provider, bringing luxurious fashions, accessories, decor and luxury lifestyle services to clients internationally. Karen Helburn, Just Hatched Karen is the CEO of Just Hatched, a baby gift basket company in their 14th year of business, and she has wrapped just about everything...from large hard goods to the tiniest baby item. You’ve heard that great minds think alike and, as you’ll see, they’re true to the basics of gift-wrapping, but they all have their own personal flair and vision when it comes to wrapping ―outside the box!‖ We asked all our experts questions that we, as aspiring creative gift wrappers, would want answered and received a generous gift in return— incredible tips and ideas that should boost our wrapping skills—and yours! Q. Let’s get right to the tough stuff. We’d love some tips on how to wrap those oddly shaped gifts we can’t put in boxes. Are gift bags the only solution? Dana: Sometimes a gift bag is a Godsend! But there are alternates such as creating a gift basket full of many odd-shaped gifts and then enclosing the whole package in a cellophane bag. Another option is to use cloth. You can generally buy yards of holiday themed fabric for fairly low prices at the local fabric store. It won’t rip and fabric tape works wonders. No sewing required! Deb: Gift bags are not the only solution. Use colorful pillowcases or small fleece blankets for small- to medium-size gifts. Tie off with ribbon or tulle. Use mesh for wine/champagne bottles and top it off with a beautiful bow. It’s a wonderful presentation, especially for the more expensive bottles. Also, some oddly shaped gifts lend themselves well to uniquely shaped gift baskets. Cynthia: The oddly shaped gifts and those items that simply won’t fit anywhere need some thought! I recently purchased a huge box of golf balls for a friend and could not easily think of a way to package these difficult and perpetually rolling little guys. I found an inexpensive bowl from a discount store and placed it on a coffee table book about golf. I put cellophane under both items, filled the bowl with the balls and added a nice bow with little golf tees hanging from it. It looked polished, unique and personally designed for her. Practice this technique as you don’t want your gift to look like a yard sale! Towering items is also a good idea. If you can produce a theme beginning with the biggest item on the bottom, the middle sized next with the smallest on top, you can wrap in cellophane or tulle. Liz: I think many of our gifts are beautiful just the way they are. A teddy bear, a candle, a quilt, many items can be wrapped to accent their good looks. How cute would a teddy bear look with a man's tie wrapped around its neck and use a tie clip to attach the gift tag? I've wrapped a toolbox with one of my Fobbie wrap tags and ribbon and then attached small screwdrivers and wrenches with frilly pipe cleaners and stuffed shop rags underneath arranging them to be fluted. You can really expand on a theme and make it fun to look at and unwrap since there are so many goodies along the way! Q. When is it better not to wrap a gift? Laura: Many gifts come in beautiful packaging. For example, soaps, lotions, tins of cookies. Wrapping a tin canister is not easy and can prove to be very frustrating! Sometimes, a very pretty bow is all that is needed! Deb: When it is a recreational vehicle or a bicycle. The excitement of covering a loved one’s eyes and removing them to show them such an item needs no wrapping. However, giant bows can be made by your local gift basket designer. Just ask them. Dana: Don’t wrap gifts if you’re bringing them on an airplane. You don’t want to get stopped and have to unwrap your beautiful creation. If you have to bring gifts on a plane, buy the wrapping supplies when you arrive at your destination and make an evening of wrapping them up. Cynthia: If the gift will be discounted by ―bad wrapping‖ don’t do it—the wrapping should enhance the gift, not degrade it. I had a request to wrap a cactus plant for a new homeowner. After trying for a half an hour, I found that it simply wouldn’t work and I had the wounds to prove it! Instead, I wrapped western bandana on the plant, added a kid’s cowboy hat and it looked great! Q: What are the most common mistakes people make when they wrap gifts? Dana: Many people don’t reinforce their folds. It is very important to make a strong fold so that it won’t look puffy. Also, a lot of people use way too much paper. You don’t want to create a cocoon or leave the ends too long. Long ends make for unclean folds…the sign of a true amateur. Mira: Remove the price tag! Then, make sure there is the same amount of paper left on both sides. To ensure this trim away any extra paper so that the remaining flaps are long enough to cover the box but short enough to fold into smooth equal sized flaps. Liz: We often will use too much tape which makes opening your gift a lot like trying to get into those hard plastic packages we get our electronics in. Laura: Measuring the box, or lack thereof. We have all heard the saying, ―measure twice, cut once‖. Another mistake is to wrap the item in the original packaging. Try to find a box to put the package in. It will look so much better, and it will be much easier to wrap. Cynthia: The biggest mistake is that people rarely have the right vision. Look at things that would work for the gift and match it all up before you go home. Find a small item that can be added to finish the theme. For instance I bought a friend some gifts for their new puppy this Christmas and wanted to be clever for these dear friends. I began with a food bowl that would be the vessel, added in a stuffed toy and some chew bones. I wrapped the entire unit in puppy paw tissue and made a bow from a new leash. Deb: Failing to ensure that the contents are secure—especially in the case of homemade gifts and gift baskets. If the items are not securely wrapped, the items could spill out all over the place, possibly breaking the items and ruining the presentation. Q. How can we make our gift wrapping look more professional? Deb: For boxes, cut just enough paper off the roll and use transparent tape instead of clear, shiny (cellophane) tape. For gift baskets, cleanly roll or fold each side of the cellophane bag, tuck the tails under and secure with tape. Cynthia: It’s important to have the right tools: a flat surface, good scissors, the right tape and a glue gun. Make your cutting smooth, and when you fold wrapping paper make a defined crease; that way the paper will be flatter when you have to tape. Use a tape dispenser to give you the free hand. I use a ruler to flatten a fold and the box will wrap better. Take the time to evaluate the size of the item and cut the paper to fit. Dana: Measure the amount of paper that you’ll need. I roll the gift over the paper length wise and height wise in order to get my dimensions down. Adding some fabric ribbon always makes for a good show too. That’s a trick all professionals use to make their gifts look extra-special. It’s simple but makes a big impact. Good paper shows too. The cheap stuff turns white as soon as you start folding and rips too easily. If you want a stellar gift wrap job you should definitely upgrade your paper. Laura: Use double-sided tape. No matter what the tape package says, it is not invisible tape. You can always see the tape if it is on the outside. When wrapping the box, lay your paper flat and center the box. Make a neat fold of about ½‖ on the other side of the paper before folding it over to cover the other side of the box. Secure with tape. This will create a clean and straight edge. After you have wrapped the box, take a moment to run your fingers along all the edges of the box to better define them and make the box look clean and crisp. Q. What are some low-cost ideas for wrapping gifts with things we might already have around the house? Liz: This is always fun. Paper bags are a favorite of mine, especially when you use raffia or string, making it easy to attach adornments. We all have old shirts with nice patterns on them that can be used in place of paper. I've taken old jeans and cut strips up the legs and used them instead of ribbon. If I'm wrapping a gift for a man, I'll take a roll of duct tape, pull off longs pieces and fold them in half so it sticks together and use it like ribbon. It's also fun to then use the duct tape on the ends, edges, or randomly as décor. I then will thread nuts or washers on the tape every few inches to add interest. Old pillowcases can be filled and tied with cord or ribbon on the end, leaving a fluted look. Boxes can be painted, stenciled or stickered, giving them new life. Mira: My favorite thing is to wrap with newspaper and use pieces that have meaning within the paper. Karen: Have your children draw a pretty picture on a shopping bag and use the artwork as gift wrap. Items around the house or outside can be used as gift toppers, like a beautiful leaf and some twigs held together with simple twine, or a stick of cinnamon tied to the top of a package. Some mistletoe or a fresh flower on top is lovely, if your gift will be given immediately. Laura: Scarves are great for wrapping a rectangular box. Scarves are also great for wrapping a wine bottle! For a child’s gift, I have used Zoo Pals plates as part of the wrap. Dress up a gift with nature. Use pine cones, twigs, flowers (if giving the gift the same day), or leaves. A baby gift can be wrapped in white tissue paper. Add a thin satin ribbon with small cotton puffs glued on for a soft, sweet look. Dana: One of my favorites is using parchment paper or waxed paper, which works especially well if the package itself is colorful and can shine through just a little. Kitchen twine makes a beautiful ribbon option, too. Learning to tie a few different ribbons for gift wrapping will earn you star status in no time. There are loads of instructional videos on the Internet to help you on your way, and best of all, they’re free! (Editor’s Note: Look for links to several instructional videos later in the e-guide!) Cynthia: Baskets, bowls and boxes are always wonderful to use. One large box I needed to wrap was challenging and did not look good with wrap. Instead, I cut out images from old Christmas cards and pasted on the box with hot glue. I made a bow that complemented the many colors featured on the box. A flower pot can be a wonderful beginning for a gift. Add in the gift, a pack of flower seeds for the gardener, and it’s a gift they’ll love and find entirely useful. Wrap it up with paper from a catalogue from a flower or bulb distributor. Even a storage box from your pantry can work to contain a gift. For a new home owner, I used storage boxes filled with hard-to-find items when you move: A can opener, tissue paper, nails, tape, scissors, a screwdriver, picture hangers and bottled water. I placed these items in matching boxes (plastic) on top of each other and the boxes can be used again later. This gift was wrapped only in thick ribbon to hold the boxes together. Deb: Aluminum foil isn’t just for cooking or getting good television reception. Due to the shaping capabilities, use it to gently wrap just about anything. No tape required. Remember when we were kids and we used brown paper bags to make book covers? Recycle those brown paper bags as wrapping paper. Use a shoestring for the bow. Q. How can we make our wrapped gift stand out from all the others on a gift table? Dana: This is where hand-made elements really show their stuff! Hand-make your own gift tags, affix a homemade ornament to the bow or create a stencil that you print onto your gift wrap. Liz: By tailoring your wrapping to the recipient’s interests. Perhaps, if its a woman who likes to sew, use a colorful piece of fabric to wrap and attach with safety pins, then use lace in place of ribbon, or a soft measuring tape. I like to use tulle, because it comes in a variety of colors, is easy to work with, and gives a fluffy presence. I also add some dimensional adornments, like small toys, jewelry or trinkets. Laura: Know your recipient. If you know something special about your recipient, you can incorporate that into your gift. I created a gift for a friend that loves the beach. I used sticky spray and covered the gift in sand. I added a little fishnet, sea shells, and a drink umbrella for a lovely beach scene. A word of caution though: make sure you use enough spray and really shake off the excess sand. You don’t want to leave sand all over the gift table. Another gift I recently did is a baby gift for a friend who loves nature and is very ―organic‖. For this gift I used handmade paper to wrap the gift. I clipped some twigs from my Japanese maple tree to create two trees on the gift. I added a thin string to create a clothes line and hung the booties. The booties match the outfit inside the gift. I cut out some flowers and glued them to the tree. Then, I added a small bird’s nest to finish off the look of spring. Karen: You can create your own ―signature wrap‖ that people will come to recognize. Find a unique material or gift topper that is unique to you and that you ALWAYS use. Cynthia: My gifts stand out because they are often bold. I visit my local craft store and purchase some amazing ―piks‖ (a small enhancement like gold leaves and holly on a small stick available at all craft stores) for $.50 each. I often use metallic paper, add a bow and use matching, meaningful piks. It sounds a bit off, but experiment and see if you can make it work. Piks can be attached to bows to enlarge the look and add a little magic with glitter and holiday floral enhancements. Also, silver, white and gold together can be magnificent as is black and silver depending on the occasion. Q. Let’s talk a little about gift ties! What ties work best with various types of wrap? Deb: Velvet, satin and organza can be used with softer textures like tulle, lace or chiffon. Patterned grosgrain ribbon is fun to use for kids’ gifts with tissue-paper wrapping or other printed papers like polka dots and stripes. Use raffia for fiesta, country home or Western looks. Use a checkered tablecloth for medium to large items or a bandana to wrap small items. Wired ribbon is great to use on gift baskets. The wire allows the shape to stand up and gives a nice presentation. Liz: Personally I mix and match. I look mostly at the colors and textures of the paper or materials. I enjoy using craft, or handmade papers with raffia. I tend to wrap by the feeling a color or pattern gives me, and if it lends itself to be elegant or playful. I have a huge stock of ribbons, papers and materials I work with, so I often decide the feeling I want the wrapping to convey, then pick the paper or material that best reflects that. I then lay a variety of ribbons on top of it until I find the right match. Mira: I like to use satin ribbon with homemade gift bags and silk ribbon with wrapping paper, whether it’s a dressed-up newspaper or a designer gift wrap. I love to use organza for gifts that are for my girlfriends! Laura: This is really a personal choice. I tend to use satin and organza on wedding gifts. It gives a more elegant look. Almost all of my grosgrain ribbon is floral, so I would use that for housewarming, hostess gifts, anything spring-oriented. Velvet I use exclusively for Valentine’s Day and Christmas wraps. Wired ribbon is excellent for making bows– especially big bows. I don’t use a lot of raffia myself, but when I do, it is mostly for gifts that focus on a more organic look. Cynthia: I use all of the gift wrapping and material ribbons depending on what works best. I first decide on the container or box, wrapping paper and then decide on the tie. Organza, for instance, is great if the item is elegant, like wrapping wedding goblets in white organza and placing in a champagne bucket. Satin should be reserved for wedding, Valentine’s and occasionally the anniversary. Keep in mind that satin can be difficult to work with and often unforgiving. Raffia should be used in ample amount when tying a bow; it is a casual wrap and works well for western themes, or to wrap a wooden box and for men’s gifts. Wired ribbon is great to make an impressive bow since it can be molded to look just right. Basic ribbon for a special bow is best made from a roll of #9 satin ribbon. Use enough so your bow doesn’t look sparse. I personally don’t like working with tulle or craft netting as I have a true inability to create something that looks civilized from that material. Dana: I think that the fun of gift-wrapping is getting creative and trying different combinations of ribbons, ties and wrap. This is your chance to do something different that will get your gift noticed. The most important thing to consider is the color scheme you’re going for with each gift. Q. Any tips on tying ribbon around a box? Laura: So happy you asked this question! Guess what! You do not have to tie a ribbon around the center of the box with a bow in the middle! If you have a rectangle-shaped box, try wrapping the ribbon about 1/3 of the way in from the long edge, cross it on the back of the box, and wrap it about 1/3 of the way down from the top edge of the box. Rather than adding a bow, add a jeweled embellishment, or a few fresh flowers with a small bow around the stems. If you don’t want to use a standard ribbon, you can make pleated folds in a complementary paper and use that as a ribbon alternative. Dana: You have two basic options: the single loop and the double-cross. The single loop is easy to do, because you start with the ribbon under the gift and pull the two ends to meet on top. Tying the knot may require assistance, because the double-knot is essential to the gift staying wrapped. First, you tie a single knot as tight as you can without squeezing the package. Then you have someone hold their finger on the center of the knot to keep it tight while you tie a second knot to hold it in place. Then you tie your bow. The double-cross (I call it) starts on the front of the package. Then you cross the ribbons underneath and pull the ends up over the box to meet perpendicular with the line you created on the front with the first pass. Then, tie the knot the same way as described above. Simple! Liz: One of the reasons I invented the Fobbie was due to the fact that it can be a challenge to get ribbon wrapped around your gift, I wanted to eliminate that hassle. Tying that knot in the center without the aid of someone else's finger is tough! My slot system works kind of like a buckle, threading your ribbon up through the inner slot and then back down through the outer and cinching down locks the ribbons in place without the need for tying any knots. You can use a variety of ribbons and sizes and even thread accent ribbons in for extra flair. (Editor’s Note: More on the Fobbie later!) Karen: Ahhh...there are many secrets here, but my favorite is the way a friend of mine, who worked at Tiffany's in NYC, showed me how they do their famous box wrap— with a FLAT bottom (no nasty knot on the bottom of the package that makes a package wobble when placed on a flat surface). Here's how: Start with a precut piece of ribbon long enough to go around the package twice with extra for the bow. Stretch the ribbon across the top of the package leaving a 4" or 5" tail. Hold firmly while bringing the ribbon around the bottom of the box back toward the top. Criss-cross with the tail, and do the same on the other side of the box. The bottom will be flat. Tie a bow using two loops that criss-cross. (See step-by-step photos and instructions in the chapter Gift-Wrap How-To Photos and Videos!) Q. How about some creative, crafty gift-wrapping ideas for Christmas and birthday presents? Deb: Use leftover fabric remnants tied with ribbon. Mylar sheets are fun to use for children’s birthday presents. The shiny colors draw attention. Don’t have a use for all those buttons? Use them to decorate ribbon or wrapping. Liz: You can really dress up your gifts by attaching ornaments, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, pine cones or holly. I like using strings of beads. Laura: Light up your gift! Buy a battery- operated strand of tree lights (usually 10 lights to a strand). Poke holes in the top of the wrapped box and feed the lights through. Adhere the battery box to the inside lid of the gift and turn on. Create a birthday gift by incorporating other gifts into the wrap. To wrap a water table for a child, I used navy paper, string, and eye clasps to give a nautical look. I affixed sea shells, grasses (to look like seaweed), and a ―life’s a beach‖ sign. Take a few minutes to make a paper airplane. Attach a clothes pin to the bottom of the plane so the plane is at an angle (like it is going to take off); then glue the clothes pin to the top of the gift. Add a small button on each side of the base of the clothes pin for the planes wheels and you have a great child’s gift! Cynthia: I love the idea of a special vessel and customized wrapping. If you find some wonderful kraft paper with a holly design in tan, red and green, choose a beautiful red ribbon, a matching box and insert some holly from the artificial flower department of your local craft store to carry through the theme. For a vessel, find something that works. A teddy bear can be holding a box of Godiva chocolates. Just wrap it in cellophane with a bow on top. For a birthday present, you can do so many things simply by visiting your local party store. For a present I recently did, I found a plastic popcorn bowl, added in some microwave popcorn packets, some free movie rentals, and junior mints. I made a bow in the color of the bright red bowl and with some party noise makers hanging from the bow, giving a festive look. Also on the tails of the bow was a wearable button that said ―birthday girl‖. Mira: Do something fun and break some of the rules while keeping the magic of this time of the year. Add some costume jewelry, bells, tassels, flowers or buy some paper and paint some designs on it. Dana: I recently saw gift wrap made from sewn- together vintage handkerchiefs. It was so amazing, but you have to be quick with a needle and thread. There’s also the fun Japanese style of gift wrapping with fabric called Furoshiki. It’s very cool and a really easy way to wrap a gift with a piece of fabric that doesn’t use any tape, glue or thread. (Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the Furoshiki how-to video in the Gift Wrap How-To Photos and Videos chapter!)The great thing about wrapping with fabric is that you can use it again, whether it’s as a gift wrap or converted into a throw pillow, shopping tote or other crafts. Q. Finally, do you have any other suggestions we haven’t touched on in our questions? Cynthia: To make it affordable, be on the lookout for ―deals‖ all year. For instance, Bass Pro Shops has some fishing Christmas paper, but it has no actual Christmas markings on it, making it suitable for any time of the year. Check clearance areas for fun items, ribbons and novelties that can personalize a gift. Check different stores like the Container Store for a variety of unique containers perfect for wrapping, and watch for tins at the dollar store that can be stacked or used independently as a ―box‖. When you do find deals, store them in plastic storage drawers and boxes so that you’ll have them at a moment’s notice. You’ll be able to do much more if you can buy inexpensively. Last Christmas I bought 20 boxes of mints individually wrapped in an elegant box with green and red mints. I took all of the red ones out and did the same with the green, making boxes of only one color mint. At Valentine’s, I used the red mints as a base for a gift that was wrapped in heart cellophane, and did the same for my Irish friends on St. Pat’s day. Shop with a creative eye and see what you might possibly do with a few bargain items! Laura: If you are a parent, you know the hassles associated with a child opening a present and having to wait while you release it from the jaws of the industrial plastic packaging, assemble it and add batteries. I strongly suggest assembling the toy first. Find a box that will accommodate the toy already assembled, then wrap. Your child will be able to enjoy the toy immediately, and you can sit back and relax while he or she plays, plays, plays! Deb: Have fun. Use your imagination. Take a short bow-making class at your local gift- basket company for that professional touch. Gift-wrapping and bow-making do not need to be expensive or time consuming. Bonus Tips It’s no surprise we received some super suggestions for gift wrapping from our friends who, while not necessarily gift-wrap gurus, are so incredibly crafty, they simply see gift- wrapping as another opportunity to be ultra-creative. So here we go! OneCheapB*tch.com’s Jeanine Boiko offers three uncommonly cool gift-wrap ideas! Vintage sheet music—the older and more yellow, the better. Use it as you would wrapping paper, and it creates a beautiful package, no matter what's inside. Coffee-stained gift tags—these are my specialty. I purchase hang tags from Staples or any office supply store, dip them in a coffee/water/vanilla extract mixture and then bake them for about 5 minutes. Let them air-dry overnight. Then you can stamp an image on them and add tea-stained seam binding, German glitter glass or what-have-you for a really unique gift tag. Michelle Brown of Mixed Media Art, shows us how to make a cute gift box for holding gifts of earrings, a necklace or whatever you choose to give. You can make the box the size you need for the gift. Click here to see how it’s done! Here’s an incredible idea compliments of Betsy Alandt, who suggests recycling an empty Pringle’s can! She says most holiday cookies fit into a Pringle’s container, making it a great way to gift or ship them to loved ones across the country. Embellish the can with jewels, garland or wrap it in a meaningful photo to use as a gift box—it’s a great kid's arts and craft project. Our final ―Bonus Tip‖ is from Barbara Kilikevich of A Mindful Christmas, who reminds us to keep Christmas as green as possible: All of my gifts are being given in canvas totes this year. I have red ones from Trader Joe's so it looks more festive that way. I tie the handles shut and wrap natural raffia around the handles and make a bow. It is perfect for consumables and the person receiving the gift gets the bonus of the canvas tote for shopping without using plastic bags from the stores! Gift-Wrapping Emporium Eye-catching! Easy to use! Eco-friendly! You’ll find lots of wonderful, new ideas and items for gorgeous gifting in our Gift-Wrapping Emporium! Kari Brownsberger recommends using stamps from Expressionary on brown paper bags to create great gift-wrap looks like the one in the photo at the left, and Caley Concannon points us to the Dolan Geiman site for more eco-friendly gift-presentation ideas like the one in the photo at the right. If you love the idea of using reusable fabric for Furoshiki, the Japanese gift-wrap art form, Viola Sutanto has what you need in her colorful line of Give Wraps™, and her Web site, Chewing the Cud, gives you photo tutorials on how to use them! We’re always delighted at the number of eco-friendly ideas we get from folks around the country. Reena Kazmann, the director of Eco- Artware, offers eco-friendly gifts to wrap in earth-friendly ways, and she sent us help with links to two sites: the first one, Earth Presents, belongs to her friend who produces gift wrap using kids’ designs on recycled paper and provides recycled/recyclable wrapping ribbon. The second, Wrap Art, the brainchild of ―wrap artist‖ John Boak, shows you how to wrap presents creatively, using fragments of paper and miscellaneous items from around your house, like egg crates and popsicle sticks. It’s pretty cool! Susan Doherty, the producer and host of Six Minute Style, gives us two more fun, offbeat and green gift-wrapping ideas. She says Holiday Storage Tins from Napa Style are wonderful for food items, handmade gifts or even smaller items such as gloves, note cards, even jewelry. In addition to being memorable, they’re reusable and cut down on wrapping paper and other waste. And for a ―gift times two,‖ she suggests a unique way to deliver a gift certificate (spa, restaurant, etc) is to place it inside a gorgeous vase or pitcher. How fun to receive the gorgeous Edward Wine Decanter from Williams-Sonoma with a generous spa gift certificate inside (and an accompanying note suggesting a glass of wine following a day of spa relaxation). Add a big red or gold ribbon and you are set to go! Here’s a gift idea and a gift-wrap in one! It comes to us from ECOlunchboxes, a reusable lunchware company. Their ECOnapkins are made from beautiful hand-block-printed cotton and are rectangle to be used as a napkin or a placemat. They also wrap perfectly around the company’s stainless-steel ECOlunchboxes to create an eco and practical green gift! Click here to see a short video of the wrap and the lunchboxes: Reusable lunchware is a great green gift, especially for that person who packs a lunch every day! The Bowdabra is an inexpensive ―goof-proof‖ bow- maker that makes a wide range of professional-looking medium and large bows. The process begins by inserting a piece of ribbon wire into the Bowdabra. Then, material is either scrunched or folded on top of the wire to achieve the bow size and fullness desired. Once the material is in, the Bowdabra Wand is used to compact the material onto the ribbon wire. The wire is then tied, and the bow can be removed from the Bowdabra. Once removed, the bow can be fluffed, arranged, and retied to the maker’s liking. For socially conscious recycled gift wrap without sacrificing style, check out the new line of Recycled Gift Wrapping Paper from Green Field Paper Company. The paper is printed using soy-based inks rather than conventional petroleum-based inks. Each oversized sheet measures 24" x 36" and is printed on 70# 100% recycled paper that has a smooth satin finish and is made in the U.S.A. At Gift Card Girlfriend, it’s all about presenting gift cards in a way that makes them more personal. But rather than focus on the bows and the bags, Gift Card Girlfriend shows you how to turn any gift card into a thoughtful gift by adding a personal sentiment—sometimes just the right words is all it takes, and there are hundreds of ideas on the site. For example, giving a gift card to the cooking store? Bundle it with a secret family recipe or three busy- day meals your kids never complain about. A gift card to the bookstore? Deliver it with homemade bookmarks from the kids or a list of the ten best books you've ever read. A gift card to the movies? Add a note that reads, "Hope this is the only drama you see this holiday season!" Here are some spiffy gift tags sure to lift your spirits! TagIt! Wine Tags are unique gift tags especially designed for wine bottles. Next time you need to bring a gift, just pick up a bottle of wine, add an original TagIt! Wine Tag, and you’re all set with the perfect, thoughtful gift. For a fashionable way to present your gift of wine, slip the bottle into some Wine Bottle Wear. Simply place WINE BOTTLE WEAR over the neck of the bottle to make it perfectly outfitted for making someone happy! How about some uniquely designed stickers for everyday gifts? Paper Fancy offers a super-fun selection of stickers that can turn even the plainest wrapping paper into something spectacular! We all knew it would happen someday! WrapItApp—a new gift wrapping application for iPhones and iPod Touches provides measuring and wrapping tips for people on the go. The application was developed by two Michigan based businesses, Lisa’s Gift Wrappers and Vectorform. It is available for download at the iTunes store for $1.99. The innovative application utilizes the iPhone or Touch as a measuring device to ensure you are using the correct amount of wrapping paper. It provides simple step-by-step instructions 24/7 on how to make a one and three loop bow and familiarizes the user with standard box sizes and paper needs. A great gift wrapping idea for men (or women who don't love to wrap) is JAM Paper foil envelopes. Men can pop in a gift, use the peel and seal closure, and have a great looking present. Jam Paper also has hundreds of different colors and patterns of wrapping paper, and they have jumbo 13” bows in a variety of colors. Got the paper but looking for a cool ribbon presentation. "Wrapper's Delight' has two fun options! One is a great teal color that can be used on holiday gifts. Both the ribbon and bows are imprinted with, "I have the receipt!" The other is for birthdays, in bold red with an imprint that reads, "You're Old." Both colors look great on basic brown paper wrap, so it saves you money. You’ve already ―met‖ the inventor, Liz Mrofka—now meet the Fobbie! The Fobbie is a durable, decorative gift wrap tag that is illustrated with a graphic or greeting and a patented parallel slot system. You cut two pieces of ribbon, thread them through the slots, pull the ends to cinch to your gift and trim, giving you a beautifully wrapped gift. The Fobbie is perfect for wrapping those odd shaped items, or ones that are beautiful just the way they are like a teddy bear, a stack of towels, or a candle. Fobbies are reusable, and recyclable. You can use ribbons, fabric or a variety of materials, anything that can fit through the slots is game! No tape is needed and you can save money by not having to use wrapping paper. MiniCards by MOO are personalized, unique gift tags half the size of a standard business card. MOO is an online printing company that employs Printfinity™ technology, which lets users upload their own images and print a different image on each card. For people who aren't the best gift- wrappers, the MiniCard is a simple touch that will help take the attention away from some slightly unmatched corners and uneven lines. Make Christmas special for family and friends just by mailing their gift in this clever box! It’s a bright-red stocking box you can personalize with a name. Gifts sent in Tony's Stocking from ShipShapeUSA bring joy to grandchildren, grandparents, students— anyone far from home! The stocking-shaped box delivers smiles directly to mailboxes and front doors. No wrapping, no fuss—just stuff it and ship it! Here’s a great alternative to the unrecyclable nylon/plastic bow. Origami Bonsai Instant Flowers—the first mass-produced, pre-folded Origami shape that opens instantly to reveal a beautiful flower! The site has videos that show you how to fold their many varieties of flowers, and the flowers really pop on top of a gift! All in the Cards has a full line of chic and affordable gift bags, greeting cards and paper products (to name a few!) The cards are hand- decorated with everything from shoes, to mulberry flowers, to baby rattles, and of course, lots of glitter! The supplemental line includes tissue wrap, ribbon, handmade gift bags, note cards, gift wrap, and keepsake gift boxes that match the cards, allowing you to create one-of-a-kind gift experiences loved ones are sure to remember. The entire line is available in both everyday and seasonal designs. With Gift Box Studio, you get everything you need to make the package as special as the gift inside, including 24 pages of pre-perforated, pop-out gift boxes, cards, tags and embellishments; 13 ready-to-use boxes; 19 gift cards, tags and envelopes; more than 100 clever embellishments, all based on fabric by top designer Jennifer Sampou. The Card: Inside or Out? Whether you place your card inside the box or on the gift-wrapping is totally up to you. As a general rule, your card has less chance of getting lost before the gift is opened if you put it inside the gift. If you want to put the card on the gift wrap, slide it under the ribbon and secure it with tape on the underside. Use the loose ends of the ribbon to secure a gift tag (with a hole in it) or tape it directly to the box (unless it already has adhesive on it.) Gift Wrapping How-To Photos andVideos Tying Ribbon Tiffany’s-Style Gift-wrap expert Karen Helburn of Just Hatched! shows us how to tie a ribbon and bow with a bump-free bottom: Step 1: Place ribbon across top of box leaving a 'tail'. Step 2: Keeping tail stationary, wrap remaining ribbon around the bottom of box and back towards the top. Step 3: Twist ribbon on top. Step 4 and 5: Still keeping tail stationary, wrap remaining ribbon around box again, bringing ribbon back towards top again. Almost finished! Step 6: Still keeping tail stationary, remaining ribbon goes under twist on top. Step 7: Tie Bow. Step 8: See flat bottom—no wobbling package! Videos: Wrapping a Basic Box Furoshiki Gift Wrapping How To Use Ribbons How To Use Curling Ribbon How To Make Big Bows How To Wrap a Gift Basket with Cellophane Wrapped Gifts That Give Back Great giving ideas are launched every day, and we’re thrilled to let you know about this new one! It’s called ―You’ve Been Gifted,‖ a surprise gift-giving game that’s 100% kid- oriented. The program inspires children to ―pay it forward‖ in heartwarming ways. Here’s how easy it is: 1. Simply prepare a small present containing a treat or gift 2. Attach a new Gifted sheet (which includes a poster and a poem) to each present 3. Leave the present at a door that does not have the 'You've Been Gifted' poster displayed. Ring the door bell and run away!! According to program organizer Christian Sees, ―Children really enjoy the surprise of getting a gift, and most try to not be seen when delivering the present. Some feel more comfortable calling ahead to a responsible adult to let them know they will be leaving a surprise. Either way, both the giver and receiver really enjoy being Gifted.‖ We’d like to wrap up this e-guide with one of the best tips of all. You can make lots of people happy—and healthy—every time you wrap a gift simply by purchasing and using American Cancer Society (ACS) wrapping paper. The wrap showcases exclusive designs by some of the most recognized artists of our time, including Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Masha D’Yans, Kari Modén, Andy Gilmore and others, whose designs have been inspired by the ACS, also known as the Official Sponsor of Birthdays. As you can see, the designs are incredible and perfect for any occasion because the wrapping paper is a gift itself—a precious gift to the giver, the recipient and to every one of us! The donated artwork has also been turned into e-cards, posters and limited-edition prints, with 100% of all proceeds going directly to the Society. We hope all of you will go to More Birthdays and give the gift of a lifetime. With all my love I chose the gift And put the card inside. I covered it with gift wrap, And then, the bow was tied. I used my creativity To wrap the gift in style. I gave the gift and, in return, Was given a bright smile. That smile? It came straight from the heart. Of that, I have no doubt. Right then, I knew my little gift Was loved inside and out! That’s a Wrap! . If any of the images are copyrighted, and you are the owner of the picture, please do not hesitate to contact us. They will be removed or credited, if you so desire. Editor’s Note: All pictures have been gathered from various sources around the Internet, including Google images. Some were submitted by their original photographers. If any of the images are copyrighted, and you are the owner of the picture, please do not hesitate to contact us. They will be removed or credited, if you so desire.